TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Obama Admin Proposes $2B for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by ggies07, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,248
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Obama says US must shift cars, trucks off of oil - Yahoo! News

    Envisioning cars that can go "coast to coast without using a drop of oil," President Barack Obama on Friday urged Congress to authorize spending $2 billion over the next decade to expand research into electric cars and biofuels to wean automobiles off gasoline.

    Have they heard of Tesla? Tesla is the prime example of what Obama wants to accomplish. Tesla is on their way to making 'coast to coast' possible. Why take photos at other plants, it should be at Tesla.

    I think this is great for what Obama wants to do, but he makes it seem like it isn't in the process of moving forward. Well, it is, just not for the big 3. hahahaha.
     
  2. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    As one comment on the Yahoo article succinctly puts it, "I can't afford a $40,000 car." Model S buyers can, but we're looking at $70k+ to get a coast-to-coast capable car, which is well above the average new car price. Continued investment in basic R&D on batteries will be key to driving down the cost, and increasing the performance, of EV batteries, which will then allow a cost-effective EV alternative to the Honda Civic et al.
     
  3. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,209
    Location:
    Rome (Italy)
    I think that what President Obama states in the following sentence:

    "The only way to break this cycle of spiking gas prices — the only way to break that cycle for good — is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks, off oil,"

    is the key to work out many environmental and economical problems of mankind.
     
  4. richkae

    richkae VIN587

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,917
    I'll make a wild guess that if they were manufactured at scale superchargers would cost less than $20000. Then install them in clusters of 10 at a time, the installation would hopefully run in the ballpark of $20000 each as well. ( Mass producing them in clusters of 10, with supporting hardware and transformers )
    Then 2 billion dollars would put in 50,000 superchargers at 5,000 locations.
    That would be a location for every 32 miles of highway in the US, or one location for every 10 miles of interstate, or one location for every 25 mile square of the continental US.
     
  5. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,209
    Location:
    Rome (Italy)
    I don't think that President Obama would like to spend all that money on superchargers. Maybe he meant the money be used in research for mass electric cars. I think that President Obama would like the money be used for instance to develop a Gen III Tesla car at a 30K cost.
     
  6. richkae

    richkae VIN587

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,917
    Unfortunately I dont think any of it will be spent on charging infrastructure. I think it will all be wasted on tax incentives for hydrogen boondoggles and corn ethanol subsidies and other stupidities.
     
  7. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    3,209
    Location:
    Rome (Italy)
    According to the linked article the money is for research in electric cars and biofuels. I also think that research in electric cars is more important than biofuels but, to be honest, I am not an expert of biofuels.
    Anyway I think that most important thing is to get rid of gas for vehicles of any kind. So whatever can help to this purpose is welcome in my opinion.
     
  8. zeron

    zeron Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Milky Way
    Frankly, if we would properly tax gasoline and gasoline cars by the damage they cause, no one could afford them. With even an half-assed attempt at tracking the externalities caused by ICE cars, the Model S would instantly be one of the cheapest cars in existence.

    Many of these externalities are impossible to calculate. What's the right price to pay for retarding people to the extent of 10+ IQ points?
    See also: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline
     
  9. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    @zeron: pointing to lead pollution isn't going to help make points for EVs: lead additives (primarily tetraethyllead) have been outlawed for use in motor vehicles nearly everywhere for more than a decade. Sure, the historic use of lead in gasoline had lots of negative implications, but that history isn't relevant to forward-looking policies. There are a lot of stronger reasons to support the President's vision; no need to dilute it with arguments about lead.

    (Aviation gas for piston engines, however, is still allowed.)
     
  10. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,150
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    I just wish the federal government would just buy the electric vehicles that we currently make. Only about 3% of government vehicle purchases are for EV's. If they buy them then the volumes would increase and R&D would come in. We need to government to walk the talk and if they did as the biggest buyer of cars in the USA they can change the dynamics if they want.
     
  11. mulder1231

    mulder1231 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Menlo Park, CA
    I don't think they are practical for the government yet--range is too limited for cars that need to be driven all day.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    15,487
    It would be interesting to see the electric utility companies buying electric vehicles and having some form of adapter so they can tie directly into power lines for charging while on site doing work. The same adapter could likely be used by telephone line servicing folks.
     
  13. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,248
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Yeah, I agree. I just wish he would use Tesla as the example for general public statements like these. I want him saying "see, it can happen, Tesla is already doing it." I think that would make the public opinion more optimistic, not just something they think is a dream. But then maybe Tesla doesn't want to be put in the spotlight with all the politics involved. Hahaha. Idk.....just sucks, because it's obviously being done, but then you have the govt saying it needs to be done. Conflicting statements.
     
  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    The US government should buy all EVs where practical for local state and fed use. Military too. Also every government parking lot should have 10 public high powered charge stations. Parks, offices Fed, state and local buildings all have places not only for the cars the will be using but also for government employees use and visiting civilians. That's 10 plugs per site.
     
  15. Ardie

    Ardie Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    161
    I just had a tiny epiphany, having watched a couple of episodes of AMC's "Hell on Wheels," a show revolving around the building of the American Transcontinential Railroad. In that giant endeavor over a hundred years ago, there was graft and corruption galore.

    In a similar vein,
    The building of the transcontinental highway system (now known as our freeways) was rife with scandal and accusations regarding land purchases and construction costs.
    In the race to the moon, the aerospace companies did (ahem) rather well, too. But they had the good sense to keep the graft and corruption out of the newspapers.

    So, if there is an American directive / incentive to do something so grand and so great that no one man or one corporation could do it all themselves, there will be a mad scramble for a piece of that money as we Americans will -again- do the impossible and achieve that goal. Yes, the price will be ridiculous, but after a lifetime or so, no one will really care.
    Someday, we will have our non-oil based transportation system, and we will probably have all the patents to dole the technology out to the rest of the world.

    Maybe it *is* sad that I am not outraged to know people lost their homes to eminent domain when the 405 freeway was built.


    -- Ardie
    But I *do* like driving solo in the carpool lane.
     
  16. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    I know the new nominee for Secretary of Energy (a bit, and we have several mutual friends). By all reports, he's very smart and capable, not only in physics (as was Chu) but also in the ways of Washington (unlike Chu). I am therefore cautiously optimistic that Moniz will get most of the money channeled to sensible R&D.
     
  17. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    Blink and ChargePoint come to mind.
     
  18. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    ChargePoint seems fairly flexible on charging costs; most CP points here on the East Coast are free.
     
  19. jeffro01

    jeffro01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    1,160
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    IMHO for this to work long term, a fundamental rethinking of how people travel will need to occur through out all levels of gov't as well as all the populous as a whole. For 100 years people have been refueling at gas stations, doing oil changes, etc... For the EV to work, those points of collection will need to be disbursed (or in the case of oil changes, eliminated all together). This can't happen overnight as there are a lot of ancillary industries that exist because of those collection points (jiffy lubes, convenience stores, etc...). There is a lot of money at stake here.

    I like the idea of having charging stations become as ubiquitous as a parking space itself. I envision a future where there is a near 1:1 ratio of parking spaces and charging stations, but we are so far away from that it's hard to see how it would work. The electrical grid and the fundamental way we generate electricity will have to change, be upgraded, evolve. The technology has to get cheaper, better, faster, more efficient. Every journey starts with a step, so I would support a few things paid for from my tax dollars today. The first one being the availability of charging stations at all gov't and public owned properties, parks, recreation centers, etc... They don't have to be "free" but they need to operate within a reasonable economic framework. Expecting free charging is unrealistic unless we can generate enough additional energy capacity to exceed peak demand and do so in a way that's environmentally sustainable. Second, I'd like to see some sort of legislation put into place that requires the installation of charging stations into newly constructed parking structures. I'd like this legislation to dictate a ratio of total number of spots vs EV charging spots much like the ADA laws handle handicapped spaces, in addition, the legislation needs to set minimum amp requirements, etc... That will drive the cost down on charging stations which helps everyone. However, I also would support the notion that not all of the EV spaces need to be in the premium parking locations, if we want this to work we are going to have to accept parking "in the back" to some extent. If anything it helps address the anti-ev sentiment that so many people have for no reason at all. There would be a start.

    Sorry if that went long, I wanted to make sure I said what I meant and meant what I said. :)

    Jeff
     
  20. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Good thoughts, Jeff. On this point, though:
    I agree that the free charging many of enjoy today isn't likely to continue indefinitely. Electricity is (almost) never free: even if there is ample extra generation capacity available, it takes extra fuel to create the extra energy. Contrary to popular belief, we don't "throw away" electricity every night; we just ramp down power plants to match load, burning less fuel as a consequence. Even on hydro systems, water used to make power now is water unavailable to make power later. (There are limited exceptions: sometimes we "spill" water in hydro systems because the dams are full or more water is needed for the ecosystem; and, we don't ramp down nuclear stations, so extra power from them has to go somewhere, often to pump water uphill to store the energy for the following day.)

    The bulk power system is in pretty good shape to absorb the increase that extensive EV charging would entail. The biggest upgrades would need to be on the local distribution systems. These upgrades could occur without necessarily raising electricity rates, though, because the utilities would be selling more power overall -- a lot of it at night, when it's cheaper and can flow on underutilized wire.

    Do we really need a 1:1 ratio of charging to parking spots? I doubt it. The "Walgreen model" is pretty silly--no one spends more than a fraction of an hour at Walgreens, so you can't get useful amounts of charge while you're there. It's at destinations where you'll be spending upwards of 3 hours where charging will be useful: e.g. malls, theaters, airports, hotels, offices. As battery tech improves, nearly all charging will be at home, at night, and (we can hope) operating as part of a SmartGrid configuration to help the power system operators manage the incremental load intelligently. Done right, EVs and wind are natural complements.
     

Share This Page